–Govt fears 2,500 cases could prove fatal
ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Saturday told the Supreme Court (SC) that Pakistan may face up to 50,000 coronavirus infections by April 25, with 7,000 of them being critical in nature.
In a report submitted to the top court regarding the national action plan for combating the pandemic, the government assured the court the confirmed cases in Pakistan are expected to be lower than Europe.
According to the breakdown, around 7,000 cases of the total are expected to be critical in nature while around 2,500 could be a cause for concern. The government estimated that at least 41,000 cases could be of a mild nature.
“In order to have a clear view of the situation, the government was trying to maximise its testing capacity,” the report added.
The federal government has said that it has put in place an emergency plan costing $366 million and guidelines have been prepared in consultation from the medical experts.
“All the airports have special counters to monitor coronavirus,” it mentioned in the report, adding that around 222 suspected patients had been traced thanks to entry and exit point checking at airports.
The areas adjacent to Iran and along the Balochistan border have declared an emergency to cope with incoming infected individuals, it said.
“Preparations were made to place patients in 154 districts under quarantine,” said the government report.
The report claimed that the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC) started off early preparations to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts included establishing Standard Operating Procedures for screening of people at all points of entry and issuing guidelines for contact management to all provinces.
According to the report, testing facilities have been established in all the provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan while indigenously developed testing kits by the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) had been sent to DRAP Technical Assessment Committee. If these testing kits are approved, they will then be made available to the public.
It also said some 13,000 surveillance centres had been set up across the country which would submit data to the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) at the National Institute of Health, Islamabad. The EOC had also been made responsible to submit daily situation reports and to conduct data analysis and risk assessments.
“Funds from World Bank and Asian Development Bank were also used for strengthening preparedness and response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the report said on financial preparation. It added that the Ministry of Finance had also released emergency funds for dealing with the coronavirus.
It also said arrangements had been made in 154 districts across the country to keep suspected patients of the virus under quarantine.